Minimalist/Simple Moms... what gear? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 06-17-2011, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Those of you who hate clutter (and "stuff" taking over your homes), what is your must have gear? Favorite brands? Items you can't live without? Items that were a waste?

 

 

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#2 of 24 Old 06-17-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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Great question. I've been contemplating that myself...


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#3 of 24 Old 06-17-2011, 11:59 AM
 
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Hmmm, I would say a car seat, a swing (fantastic for getting a shower in!), a baby/bouncy chair and one or more baby carriers. :) I also like a little soft play-yard for the tummy time stages and some safe teething toys.

 

The swing I had last time (and sold, because I thought we were done) was a Fisher Price papasan swing. Annie seemed to find it really comfy and it played soft and soothing music which she loved. I found it on craigslist and sold it for what I paid so I am hoping to go that route again!

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#4 of 24 Old 06-17-2011, 12:00 PM
 
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I love my moby wrap-- I am very weak and it's the only sling I'm able to use for more than ten minutes or so.  Other than that... diapers... a week's worth of new clothes, lots of identical baby socks (our house is freezing in winter so I'm going to have to keep her feet covered) and baby tights... lanolin cream, a new crib mattress or new crib altogether... new carseat... am I missing something?  I think that's enough.

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#5 of 24 Old 06-17-2011, 01:36 PM
 
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One thing I noticed was that with my first, there were a lot of things for entertaining pre-mobile babies that I just didn't need the second time, with the older sibling there for distraction purposes whenever necessary (or unnecessary!). Play yard, mobiles, even a lot of the toys were redundant. I'm pretty minimalist when it comes to baby stuff, but I did find a swing handy for showering. I had a small one, and it fit in our tiny bathroom if I navigated carefully and left the door open. He could see me, and I could talk to him, and he couldn't roll/crawl away. 

 

Three slings saw us from birth through preschool-age: Moby, Ergo, Hotsling (or similar). I did have a homemade Mei Tai that I wore when we were dressing up fancy (it was made out of pretty fabric and embroidered), but it wasn't as quick on/off so it didn't get as much use.


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#6 of 24 Old 06-17-2011, 03:06 PM
 
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-Zout-laundry spray.  Not green I know but better than throwing out clothes after blowouts.

-Earth Mama Angel Baby butt cream 

-Lansinoh nipple cream

-nursing pads

-1 thing to put baby in to keep them safe (from pets, sibs, the vacuum) ie swing, bouncy seat, whatever

-car seat 

-crib (side car worked best for us from birth.  I am not a small Mom.)

-Moby wrap. The only baby carrier I have that I like...and I have tried them all!

 

 

 

 

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#7 of 24 Old 06-17-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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I use a bouncy seat to get a shower in....it fits in the bathroom and is easily portable.  Swing...I prefer one that swings in two different directions and has a nice recline so little one can sleep in it on occasion.  Infant carseat.  I've tried going just straight to a convertible and in spite of it going as little as 5 pounds, wee ones are just too small to sit comfortably in a convertible the first few months.  The infant seat really is a must.  Baby bathtub.  They are slippery little people and I prefer to use a baby bathtub although it's not a must.  I have a pouch sling for wee ones until about 4 months, after that, they go on my back in a beco.  I also NEED breast pads.  My fave are the gerber ultrathin ones.  I leak like crazy for a while.  Those are the only things I can think of.  I just use my regular ol laundry stuff on baby clothes and diapers and wipes, etc.


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#8 of 24 Old 06-17-2011, 09:14 PM
 
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*ERGO carrier-one of my most used and loved baby items.

*New car seat

*18 cloth diapers (I like fuzzi buns and bum genius)

*NB-3 mo clothes (I got a box of hand me downs)

*Bouncy/vibrating chair (great for showers, eating, calming baby down)

*Diaper bag

*A dozen prefolds for wiping up spit up or messes

*Washable fabric nursing pads (at least four pairs) I think mine are Medela

*Nursing bras

*A few really thin (almost mesh) blankets to cover from sun, light (we got swaddle blankets as a gift form Target)

*A dozen socks

*Even though I am a SAHM I really like having a (Medela) breast pump for when I'm engorged in the early days and then later so dad can feed baby and bond once in a while. Also, it is a nice reassurance, just in case, to have extra milk stored away.  I had more than enough!

 

 

 


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#9 of 24 Old 06-18-2011, 04:46 AM
 
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I'm a mom that writes about minimalism on a blog. A few months back I wrote about this very thing - what were essentials during the first year and what was a waste of $ and space. The comments from other moms were great. Loads of insight into what each mom found was a must have. Here's a link to it:

http://www.theminimalistmom.com/2011/02/25/minimalist-guide-to-baby/

 

My essentials were:

- carrier: used a Moby wrap from 0-3 months, Ergo after that

- diapers: we used cloth

- dozen burp clothes: these come in handy for many uses, lightweight blanket, sun cover, a little cover up for nursing

- sleepers and onsies: don't bother with too many precious ones, they get pooped on and spit up on quick!

- stroller: we don't have a car so a good stroller with grocery carrying capactiy was essential for us. My son also napped a lot in the stroller - still does!

 

Things we wasted $ on:

- crib: we ended up mostly co-sleeping. We just moved overseas and I ended up selling the practically new crib for half of what we paid for it.

- outfits: really hard to put jeans on a cloth diapered 8 week old. Why did I waste the $?

- baby bath tub: he preferred the sink

 

Good luck!

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#10 of 24 Old 06-18-2011, 07:06 AM
 
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What I used with my first:

- Moby wrap/ring sling/Ergo

- Boppy pillow with 1 extra slipcover

- receiving blankets (I used these for burp cloths, too.)

- vibrating bouncy chair

- onesies and sleepers with feet

- Lansinoh nursing pads and lanolin

- nursing tanks

- car seat

- diaper bag (I use the Ergo backpack. I'd definitely recommend a backpack-type bag. They're so much easier to carry.)

- high chair (I got the kind that buckles to a regular chair and changes into a booster seat.)

 

The only thing I'm adding this time is cloth diapers.


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#11 of 24 Old 06-18-2011, 07:22 AM
 
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Oh I forgot the one thing that was a sleep saver for us

 

-Miracle Blanket!  The BEST swaddle blanket EVER!  It is a go to gift for baby showers for me! It was seriously a necessity for us!  DH nor I could swaddle good enough and this blanket did it. OMG!!! How could I forget?  I need to go dig those out now.

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#12 of 24 Old 06-18-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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Just wanted to add that you might want to hold off on the swing till you find out if your LO likes it. We registered for and received a nice, full-size swing (that only went back and forth), and DS never spent more than 10 minutes (collectively) in it in his life. We did discover that he liked the papsan swing that laid completely back and swung side to side, though, and ended up purchasing one of those later. I'd see if you can borrow one to try first before automatically buying. We have SO MUCH STUFF that we bought in desperation trying to get DS to sit in anything besides arms for a few minutes.

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#13 of 24 Old 06-18-2011, 09:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinimalistMum View Post

 

Things we wasted $ on:

- outfits: really hard to put jeans on a cloth diapered 8 week old. Why did I waste the $?

- baby bath tub: he preferred the sink.


 

Haha, great points!  Seriously, jeans over cloth diapers on a really little one is ridiculous.  We too had a baby bath tub that got used once, I ended up just bathing with my DS.  

 

We got a very expensive swing as a gift that only got used for a few weeks, DS liked the vibrating chair much better.  And it was huge, it took up so much space I was glad to get rid of it.  I think swings are one of those items that they either like or dislike...and you don't find out until they are here.  This might be a little silly but I always felt slightly guilty putting DS in the swing---I felt more comfortable with him in a wrap or carrier so I could have him next to me yet have my arms free.

 

   


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#14 of 24 Old 06-18-2011, 01:51 PM
 
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I run a Minimalist meetup group in my city, so I am all about this. And I have to endorse the Minimalist Mom (above) too as she promoted my group when I started it. She is awesome.

 

Even still, I feel like I have too much already for my first LO. Here's the list:

 

  • Moby wraps (a few - I hate to do laundry - they are homemade and tie-dyed with cute little patches sewed on them)
  • Some clothes (a week's worth of thrift store and handed down onesies/outfits for each stage of the first year separated into very small storage bins... when we outgrow one, we'll just give it away and bring out the next one)
  • A small bin of blankets, all of them purchased, handed down, or crocheted and knit for me by friends who are flabbergasted that I finally decided to have a baby.
  • Cloth dipes, cloth wipes and homemade wipe solution in a spray bottle (and a smaller spray bottle to stuff into the diaper bag - which is also my purse)
  • I already use natural baby wash for myself, so I'll just share with the baby. shy.gif
  • A new car seat
  • A few teething toys my mother bought and a hand-crafted wooden rattle for teething that I just got when shopping for a friend's shower.
  • Coconut oil (I use this for everything moisture related - boobs, bums, etc..) - I get it REALLY cheap at a local Pacific Islander's import store, thanks to this LO's father.
  • Medela pump and storage/feeding system (I have to be in school a few hours a day a few weeks post-partum, so my mom will be feeding him if necessary once I can't take him with me to class anymore - I have the coolest professors who will let me bring him to class with me for the first few weeks as long as we aren't too disruptive, so hopefully I won't have to use the pump too much)
  • Breast pads (free samples from a friend who sells them - woot!), nursing bras

 

  • I will also have a stroller and a bouncy seat/swing combo, but only because my mother is insisting on it. I've told her I think it's a total waste of money and have encouraged her to buy them second hand at least.

 

Honestly, I think I've spent more on my home birth supplies because I've had to buy whatever was on my midwife's list.  Sheepish.gif


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#15 of 24 Old 06-18-2011, 01:55 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by NWnewmom View Post

Seriously, jeans over cloth diapers on a really little one is ridiculous.  


I solved this problem by buying half of my dipe stash in "blue jean" printed fabric for the outer cover.

 

Cute AND practical. love.gif


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#16 of 24 Old 06-19-2011, 12:04 AM
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I was an extreme minimalist with my oldest. I had blankets, clothes, diapers and boobs, a car seat and a mei tai. That was absolutely IT.

This time around, I am still being a minimalist, but I can completely recognize the need for some of the gear. I wished, at times, that I had somewhere safe to lay my ds down for just a few minutes, or some way to take a shower.

This is my list

-clothes (8 sleepers, 8 t-shirts, 4 pair of stretchy pants, plus a few pair of wool longies)
-cloth diapers
-baby carriers - I have a decent stash leftover from ds - a Sleepy Wrap, 1 woven wrap, 2 mei tais and 1 wrap converted mei tai
-bouncer (plan to put baby in this while I shower)
-Pack-n-Play travel crib
-carseat
-blanket
-baby bath tub (my kitchen sink isn't a good size to wash a baby and newborns are so slippery, I will feel better with one of these this go round)

I'm not going to be over run with baby gear, but I do feel like I am better prepared this go round. Plus, having a 4 year old in the house, I am going to need to try and not hold baby for all naps so I can still spend some one on one time with him.

What I found to be a waste of money

-nursing pillow - I never liked either the My Breast Friend or the Boppy, and I just used a regular bed pillow as a prop
-nursing bras and shirts. Ick. I just don't like these things at all. I have small boobs, so I can get away with not using them. I use a tank top that I can pull down under a t-shirt and go bra less.

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#17 of 24 Old 06-19-2011, 12:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mommel View Post


Honestly, I think I've spent more on my home birth supplies because I've had to buy whatever was on my midwife's list.  Sheepish.gif



You're having a home birth??!! Yeah! I had my son at home. Amazing experience.

 

Glad you are on the ball about getting the supplies. We picked our kit up AFTER my water broke.

 

Good luck!! Your list of baby supplies sounds great.

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#18 of 24 Old 06-19-2011, 05:48 PM
 
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Carseat, diapers, Moby wrap, onesies, sleepers, and a swing. Oh, and a pacifier if you're willing to use them.

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#19 of 24 Old 06-19-2011, 08:38 PM
 
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I love this! Thanks for all the lists. 


I just love being a mama to my son born 9/22/2011 and expecting baby early December 2014 joy.gif

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#20 of 24 Old 06-20-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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I don't know if I'm a true "minimalist," but that is my leaning--especially where babies are concerned (this is my fourth, so I've pretty well figured out what *we* need).  

--Diapers.  For the true minimalist, something like the "Flip" system by Bumgenius might be good, since it is one-size (so no need to replace smaller diapers as the baby grows) and, unlike one-size pockets or AIOs, you can reuse the covers.  I like to have enough for about 18-24 changes, though you could get by with fewer if you like to do laundry. =)

--Wipes.  I use terrycloth washcloths (which I hand-dyed into an assortment of lovely colors).  I have a WHOLE lot of them--because we use them for more than just baby wipes.  I store them dry and just wet them with warm water when I use them (I don't think wipe solution is really necessary--I take the baby in the bath with me often, and water is almost always sufficient for cleaning them during a diaper change.)

--Diaper pail/liners.  I have to PUL diaper pail liners.  When I do laundry, I take the full/dirty liner out and put the clean one in.  After I empty the bag of diapers into the washer, I flip it inside out and wash it in the same load.

--Clothes.  This is pretty variable, especially by baby #4, because I have a weird assortment of hand-me-downs (from my own kids and friends' kids), plus a few things I'll buy specifically for the baby, plus a few gifts--so I end up with a different mix every time.  But, if I were going out and accumulating clothes for a baby from nothing right now, I would get a bunch of onesies (say, 6-8 per size?)--I would dye them or otherwise embellish them because while I don't like to have a LOT of stuff, I like to enjoy looking at the stuff we have =)--and some basic cotton pants.  A hat or two, but I've never found much use for them except in the winter when it's truly cold.  And socks.  For the warm months, maybe substitute babylegs for the pants, or forego pants altogether.  One-piece sleepers (I like them either footless or the bunting/gown type) are useful, too (but I don't differentiate between a newborns "clothes" and "pajamas," since they sleep most of the time, and I don't tend to change their clothes because it's "bedtime" or "morning" so much as because they "just pooped all over themselves."
--A few blankets.  In my experience, more basic = better.  And if they're absorbent, like flannel, all the better.  Spit-up rolls right off of fleece and many other synthetic materials in a way that is...just annoying.  I had ~5 big flannel blankets that I made, which were warm, great for swaddling, and doubled as burp-cloths when the need arose.
--Car seat.  If you want to be super-minimalist, get a convertible like the Radian XTSL, which they can ride in from birth to something like 45 pounds rear-facing (check that; I don't recall the exact weight), and then to something like 80 pounds forward-facing.  It has, I believe, a 7-year expiration date, so it should last their entire carseat-riding years, until they're ready for a booster.  I personally like having an infant carrier for the first months, especially because I am going back to work as an apprentice midwife and will take the baby to appointments with me (hopefully sound asleep in said car seat for many of those visits), and I'm also taking the baby with me to one birth in November (for a friend/repeat client).  When the baby outgrows the carrier, it'll go into the Radian-or-similar.
--Carrier(s).  I have an Ergo that meets *almost* all my baby-wearing needs, but a newborn doesn't fit in one (I've never tried the newborn insert, but haven't heard great things about them), so I think it's worthwhile to have a pocket sling, or a Moby wrap, or some such thing for the first weeks.  I have a Moby wrap that I picked up used before my last baby was born.  I didn't get a *ton* of use out of it--I have big babies and I transition them to the Ergo as soon as I'm able--but it was irreplaceable for the occasions when I *did* use it.  With my first two, I used a cotton pocket sling in much the same way.

--Somewhere to set the baby down, especially if you have older kids.  I have always had a toddler when I had a newborn (except, of course, my first) so having somewhere I could put the baby and not worry about the toddler "helping" too much was nice.  I have had a swing (which I've since given away to a friend), a bouncer (actually, it didn't bounce, but that's still what I call it--I've since sold it in a garage sale), and a hammock (which I still have and will use again).  Just somewhere where the baby can be more or less out-of-reach of the toddler is good.


I'm out of time, but I think that about covers it anyway.  I would consider my stroller essential toddler-gear (for when they get to heavy to carry in the Ergo, or for putting the toddler in while I wear the baby), but not necessary for a newborn.  If I think of more, I'll update later.

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#21 of 24 Old 06-20-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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This is a hard question to answer because every mom and baby pair is going to be different (I hated nursing pillows, DD hated pacifiers). I'd say to get as little as possible before the baby is born. If there are people who want to buy you gifts, ask some of them if they'll wait until after the baby is born. If you need to make a baby registry, find somewhere with a liberal return policy.

A newborn baby isn't really going to need anything other than a car seat. Seriously, you don't even really need clothes at first but most people do put clothes on their baby.

 

I still have a ton of baby junk. I saved things I didn't even use with DD just in case. And a lot of the stuff we did use were hand-me-downs, so now I need to decide if I want to replace them. I'm wanting some things this time that I didn't want with DD - like a diaper bag and an infant car seat.


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#22 of 24 Old 06-20-2011, 07:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinimalistMum View Post

You're having a home birth??!! Yeah! I had my son at home. Amazing experience.

 

Glad you are on the ball about getting the supplies. We picked our kit up AFTER my water broke.

 

Good luck!! Your list of baby supplies sounds great.


Oh my goodness, yes! There are LOTS of us home birthers here... welcome to MDC, by the way... I see you're new here. This is the Due Date Club (DDC) for babies being born in September, but there is a whole forum here on home birth, so if you've BTDT then maybe you'll have some good advice for us newbies to home birth there too! I hope the Isle is treating you well. I've been reading, but on the fly so have not been commenting like I used to. winky.gif

 


Moo.

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#23 of 24 Old 06-22-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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Oddly enough, I've found that I "need" more gear with each additional child... for example, with my first child, I could put her down for naps in a little basket on the floor.  But once I had a toddler and a newborn, or a newborn a toddler and a preschooler, putting the new babe on the floor wasn't such a great idea!

 

However, for a newborn in a home without large pets and/or curious toddlers who don't understand the whole "gentle with the baby" thing yet:

 

--a sling, possibly two different types of sling so that if one has a horrible diaper encounter or catches that spectacular urp you have a clean replacement ready to go.  And unless you know from experienc that you love the feel of one baby carrier over another having two different types (a ring sling and a wrap, a pouch and a bjorn-style carrier, etc) can be nice.  I thought I'd adore my ring slings but had an unexpected c/s with dd1 and discovered that ring slings "bump" right where my incision was.... but the moby wrap was pure heaven!  Until the babe was heavier and suddenly the ring sling was the best.  Our local mama store has a "baby carrier rental/trial" program so maybe check to see if any of the shops near you have something similar, or find a NINO group or AP group that has a "sling library" or people willing to let you test drive a carrier.

 

--diapers!  We use a mix of cloth and sposie, and always need more than we expect.  (cloth diaper doublers/inserts work great as newborn dipes btw... you can use them later for their intended purpose, but inside a cover they rock the world of tiny tushies).  Along with the diapers, some sort of ointment (we like Method brand) or bum spray (we like Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion spray and the older kids like to spritz it on their hair after a shower lol), wipes (we use flannel squares) and a wipe solution (a peri bottle with water and a touch of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract works fine, there are also Baby Bits that you can dissolve in a spray bottle or wipe box for use as a wipe solution/bum wash), and a caddy/bucket that can hold enough for 1-2 diaper changes so you don't have to carry a messy babe too far to turn them into a "not messy for the moment" babe.

 

--puddle pads or something similar.  We cosleep (so no need for baby sleep stuff) but I got several yards of that rubber backed flannel from the fabric store and cut them into "toppers" for our bed... this prevents baby poo and breast milk from soaking into the mattress or forcing a change of sheets at 2am.  You can buy or make all sorts of waterproof covers for your bed (or the crib)... in general you only need to cover the few feet of bed that the babe (and possibly your breasts) will be threatening.  We also keep a few of these pads stashed around the house for diaper changes (we change kiddos on a pad, on the floor).

 

--car seat.  I'd go for the all-in-one style (like the Radian or Britax) that will last more or less forever. 

 

--bouncy seat.  They don't have to cost much (anywhere from 20 dollars on up) but they've saved my life so many times.  None of my kiddos have liked baby swings, but they've all been happy in a bouncer for the 5-10 minutes it takes me to shower or use the toilet (bouncer right there at mama's feet in the bathroom) or to move the boiling pasta from the stove to the sink strainer (not a good idea to try with babe in sling, even on your back).  And they're really small/light weight... we live in a tiny space and larger "infant holders" (swings, pack n plays, playpens, walled floor mats, etc) just don't fit!

 

--tummy tub.  Totally not "necessary", but a friend gave us a tummy tub with our last babe and it was so much easier on my back than anything else I'd tried!  I don't know if I would have bought it myself (price ranges from 30-60 dollars so shop around), but it was (is) a fantastic gift item and one I used a lot.  We don't have a tub (just a shower stall) and while those flat baby tubs certainly work fine, the tummy tub was a lot easier.  It used less water and stayed warm longer, ds loved it, and it was less bending/stretching/reaching for me so an all round win.  And some sort of bath product... babies don't need much, but they can get surprisingly stinky if their nooks and crannies aren't cleaned out/aired out.  A local herbalist makes a fantastic baby soap with skin soothing herbs, but even something like Aveeno scent free baby wash can be handy for the diaper area.

 

--a bag for on the go.  I only own one bag that was "designed" to be a diaper bag, but I do like switching around the bag I carry every few months so I have a collection of baby/toddler enabling bags... it just needs to be big enough to hold one more diaper than you think you'll need (if you think you need two dipes for the trip, you'll actually need three), the wipes and a wet sack for those dipes, a clean onsie for the babe, a clean t shirt for you, and whatever other necessary items you have (wallet, water bottle, toy/book for older child, snacks for everyone including yourself, etc)

 

--and then all tha basic stuff like a stack of onsies, a stack of sleepers, a stack of polar fleece pants, a stack of socks (all matching so there's no sorting required), and (since this will be a winter babe, we usually have snow by October) a larger coat for me (so babe can be slung inside with face poking out of my hood) and a bunting for her.  Probably a few small blankets to tuck round her in her car seat too (remember car seats are designed for use /without/ coats or covers between the babe and the straps so some sort of blanket or cover is important for cold weather driving).


Be pretty! Be practical! Be Pagan! Visit Pagan Hearth & Home!
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#24 of 24 Old 06-22-2011, 12:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post

 

--a bag for on the go.  I only own one bag that was "designed" to be a diaper bag, but I do like switching around the bag I carry every few months so I have a collection of baby/toddler enabling bags... it just needs to be big enough to hold one more diaper than you think you'll need (if you think you need two dipes for the trip, you'll actually need three), the wipes and a wet sack for those dipes, a clean onsie for the babe, a clean t shirt for you, and whatever other necessary items you have (wallet, water bottle, toy/book for older child, snacks for everyone including yourself, etc)

 

 

I cannot stress the importance of the clean shirt for Mama. I was a major leaker, and usually went through 3+ sets of nursing pads a day... not counting nighttime! Most of the time I leaked through the nursing pads and having a backup shirt was a real lifesaver. Though most mamas don't have my problem, an extra shirt comes in handy for big spit-ups, explosive diapers, etc.


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